WOTM Ep 13: Necessary Cruelty

This moment had to happen.

Episode 13 opens with a slow-mo montage of Sun Woo’s conflicted feelings while in Tae Oh’s persistent embrace.

Was it just a familiar habit?

Or was it an act of reconciliation that was aroused by pity?

Was it an apology for condemning and hurting each other?

Was it an act of regret for past decisions?


Was it a submission to impulsive desire due to loneliness?

The formidable Dr. Jin Sun Woo had gone through multiple life-changing moments since the discovery of a single red-hair strand in the purple scarf. Ever since then, decisions made mostly with her child’s welfare in mind. As parents, it is in our nature to protect the family when chaos looms.

Energy and tremendous effort has been invested in fortifying emotional walls, and mental preparation is also a requirement for those who are stepping into their new phase in life.

Photo from medium.com

However, Joon Yeong may have missed out on learning how to survive the mental and emotional catharsis as he witnessed the demise of his parents’ relationship. Or perhaps he had chosen his own coping mechanism by unbecoming the person he used to be? After all, he was not the cause of their breakdown.

This episode focused more on the unseen effects on a child of divorced parents. Joon Yeong has entered the twilight zone of “no longer a child, not yet an adult” and depending on who he chooses to shape his thinking, he pretty much is in the driver’s seat for this phase of his development.

I’m not sure if it is a Korean peculiarity, but once you’re a parent, your identity shifts to include your child’s. For instance, it is normal to address another parent as “child’s name + role” combo = Joon Yeong Omma (Dr. Jin Sun Woo)/ Joon Yeong Appa (Lee Tae Oh).

I have yet to be addressed as “Mother of Amira” in any social format ever. 😮
However, I have been addressed as “Mother of Dragons” 🙂

Sun Woo also took that first step of a possible life re-start beyond Gosan.
Dr. Ma (whom she fired in episode 1) couldn’t promise anything but will make a few calls. Within a couple of hours, he reported back with encouraging news: Medical professor vacancy in Busan.
The Mom inside us automatically went “would my child be ok to relocate?”

Joon Yeong’s student life is brilliantly spiraling downward, and a major scuffle at school created yet another face-off between Sun Woo and the witch who was bad-mouthing her behind her back. Yes, it was her son that Joon Yeong punched his lights out of.

The apparent boys’ fight was in real danger of going to the next official level at school. And after last week’s Teflon mode at the shooting range, Sun Woo bit the bullet and knelt in apology on behalf of Joon Young (who was not even interested in offering the olive branch in the first place – ugh). Not even going to say much more on this scene, especially when Da Kyung sashayed into the ward, all chic and polished, with an ornately decorated gift prepared for the the “distraught” Hae Kang Omma.

What really got to me was this literary appreciation from a son whose mother had traded all her hours at work for the safety and future of her only child:

Joon Young’s Text:

I can’t stand having my life so complicated and annoying. Everything will be simpler if you’re gone. That would be best for Dad too. You should leave. Go where you want. I’m fine.

Sun Woo confessed to Dr. Sul that she may be leaving Gosan after all. Shock and surprise – can Sun Woo live without Joon Young? Pregnant pause before saying it was what Joon Young wanted.

Why is Joon Young pushing her away? And she asks Dr. Sul’s perspective since she grew under similar circumstances:

Dr. Sul:
I don’t know. I was angry at both of them. I wondered why the adults were acting that way. I was confused. The funny thing is, if they didn’t keep in touch, I got mad at that. But if they did once in a while, I’d get mad that they were in touch.

Joon Young Omma, who only had him as family post-divorce, was finally told to remove him from the equation, and to live her life with no regrets.
Children should not be your excuses for all the shoulda, coulda, woulda when you’re on the precipice of creating your brand new life.

The center of Sun Woo’s world nudged her into the abyss.

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